Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bills Garden--coming along nicely!!!

We went off yesterday to have a look for some bits and pieces to finish off the garden.
He had lots of vouchers for his birthday so he has put them to good use--the beautiful Mexican plants are something we have looked at and admired for a long time-the trunks are plaited together and then they have grown and matured in these lovely pots.
Its very nearly finished now, both levels have been covered with a special membrane and some lovely Cotswold stone put down, along with the lovely stone circle that came from our dear friends Jan and John .
Bill has planted his beautiful magnolia tree that he had for his birthday, and is now just waiting to get the summer house emptied of the garage shelves on freecycle so he cant get a giant plant he has spotted on the local market--it looks like a giant rhubarb plant, grows very big and likes a moist soil.
Ideal for the spot next to the summer house next to the wildlife pond that leaks a little constantly.
We had some lovely planters this morning off freecycle-terracotta ones, they will look lovely planted up with some trailing strawberries along the wall onto the 2nd level of the garden.
I expect we will end up with lots of plants from the boot sale tomorrow!


As I was making the last post about the pigeon, Bill yelled up the stairs to me ''come down quick''when I rushed down I saw that a sparrow hawk had flown under the net that covers the fish pond.
It had obviously been chasing something (not Bills friendly pigeon I hope!) and got under the one end of the net that has been raised up by the one big plant that lives in the corner of the pond.
It was just hanging off the net, so I grabbed the camera and got these couple of shots of it.The fish all dived to the bottom, thinking it was a heron maybe.
Bill just lifted the net at one end a bit more and off he flew down the field.
he was a beautiful bird and I expect he has a young family to feed as well-nature is cruel sometimes but everything has its place and you just have to accept it.

Another New Bird

It would seem that word has got around in the bird community that we love birds at home!
We have had this pigeon hanging around for the past 4 days now.It came down in the recent storms and seems very reluctant to leave!
Its a racer and has rings on both legs but its decided it likes living here better than its loft-wherever that is.
Hes very tame and follows Bill around like a dog, he was outside the bedroom window this morning waiting for us to get up!

Todays Class

We had a real laugh as usual today in class, everyone except Wendy (2nd on left in pic) had been before.
Wendy is 'mad Michelles' friend!!!. When I said to her ''no-one will belive you have painted that painting first time in less than 4 hours''she replied ''I cant belive Ive painted it myself!!''
She seemed to find it really easy and got on with it all with no visable nerves!!
Michelle was presented with her 'advanced students brooch' today.
All students that attend my classes 6 times receive an appropriate brooch-the gents get a palette one complete with little brushes and little tubes of paint hanging from it and the ladies get a charming little lady painting away on her easel.
Chris and Pauline have been 3 times now and really love the relaxed atmosphere, they went away with joining forms to join the SAA and also a full kit of artists materials-including a table easel, paints, brushes and palette knives.
The few things that I haven't in stock at the moment they can order from the SAA and will be delivered on Monday.
I also gave them a copy of the Painting My Way techniques that I have printed off for all my students to give them a helping hand when starting to paint at home.
Michelle was also going home to do some more paintings too, will be interesting to see how she does.
We will see Michelle again next week, maybe she will bring along some of her work that she has done at home.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


As you can see Jake has settled in very well with us.
He really is a laugh a minute-the sounds he does are crazy--fire engines,telephones etc.
He whistles the Mc Donalds theme tune perfectly.
When he coughs and sneezes its so realistic its unreal. He does a real smokers cough!!
He says lots of things too-''get down Jake'' ''good boy Jake'' and all sorts of thing.
At the moment he doesn't say much when we are in the room but as soon as we go out into the hall or kitchen he starts off. Yesterday we were stood in the hall listening to him, Bill started laughing and immediately Jake copied his laugh perfectly-its a bit spooky when you hear it.
Paddy is a bit miffed that Jake can produce so many sounds-maybe he will learn some of the things from him!
Its going to be a long job introducing them to each other--it has to be done very slowly so they dont get stressed.
At the moment they are at different ends of the sofa in their cages so they can both see each other but at a safe distance.
I think life is going to non stop fun with this new addition!!

This Saturdays Class

This is the subject for this Saturdays class-very mystical subject.
This painting is suitable for all students even first timers.
I have 2 places left for the class-if you are interested in joining us please get in touch via the website

Monday, May 26, 2008


Here is the latest addition to the Jennings family.
Meet Jake the african grey parrot who came to live with us today.
He is 18 months old and talks ,sings and whistles tunes.
Its funny how things come about-I happened to see him mentioned last night on one of the forums that I go on --his owners have had a change in their circumstances and can no longer keep him.
After an email and a few phone calls Rich said he would bring him all the way from Southampton to make sure he settled in.
We had to do some furniture moving in the front room to fit his cage in, but got everything sorted just in time as they all arrived.
Paddy didn't think much of being kept in his cage while we settled Jake in , but I'm sure he will soon get to be friends given time.
He really is a character and whistles the Mcdonalds tune.
I know Rich and Nat will miss him a lot, but Im going to keep them informed of how he is with emails and phone calls.
He will be spoiled rotton like Paddy Bird is-as I speak he is tucking in to grapes and red peppers!

Hope Bagot

We had a great day at Hope Bagot yesterday-although it didnt stop raining all day!
There was a constant stream of people through the door of the vilage hall where we were.
The children all loved having a go at the encaustic art and some beautiful paintings were produced during the day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hope Bagot Festival this Sunday

We are going to a new venue this Sunday. Its in a beautiful setting underneath the Clee Hill at Hope Bagot, nr knowbury.
Its an annual event and its got all sorts going on there-a dog show among other things.Also a flower festival in the church. the website will tell you more.
We will be situated in the village hall, but there are things going on outside in marquees and the church too.
I will be displaying my work as well as demonstrating my oil painting techniques. I will have lots of materials for sale too-oil, acrylics and encaustic materials.
You will be able to have a go at the encaustic painting as well.
It promises to be a lovely day and we are looking forward to it very much.
There is a a park and ride as the road will be closed to traffic as the roads are very narrow.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bills Surprise 60th Birthday Party!

Well I managed to pull it off!!!
Ive been planing a surprise 60th birthday party for Bill over the past couple of months now.
Its been a nightmare keeping it secret from him-especially the past couple of weeks! I'm sure Bill was starting to think I was having an affair or something.
My mobile hasn't left my side-even taken it to the loo with me in case a message about some of the arrangements came through! There have been some close shaves at times and a lot of deceit going on! Ive had to make excuses to get out of the house to make phone calls and things. Keeping something like this is very difficult when you are with someone practically 24/7 !!
Bill thought he was going to a charity quiz night.
I had arranged with my daughter Becki to ask us to join her team as someone had dropped out! She came to class in the morning and casually asked if we were doing anything last night, even pretended to phone and book a taxi for us-it was already booked.!!
Bill had already got the steak out for tea-had to tell him there was food on at the charity do so he went home and put it back in freezer! I had been convinced that he would find out about it-even when his son rang my phone at 7 '30 last night to see how long we would be, he didn't click! I thought that he would recognise the cars in the car park and realise what was happening-but he only noticed one and says he just thought that he hadn't realised that Jeff was in to quizzes!
I think there is a lot of things falling into place now with him!
We actually got Bill to the top of the stairs and he heard everyone start singing Happy Birthday,and spotted some familiar faces.
He was stunned to say the least!
I have to say a big Thank You to everyone who helped with the surprise--the main one being Bills sister Maureen who had all the replies to deal with and also sent all the invites to Bills side of the family.
She also made some beautiful trifles and shopped for the gateaux too.
I hope she liked the flowers I got her.
Thanks also to my sister who went down to decorate the room at the club-and to Bills sons for what they did too.
It was a wonderful night until the very end when the taxi failed to come for us! Bills eldest lad Carl walked home with us and our 2 friends.
Unfortunately Bill took a tumble a short distance from home and ended up coming home by ambulance-a grazed face and blood everywhere!
He is fine now, and was well enough for us to go out to a beautiful lunch with his youngest son and family. We have had a quiet time since lunch with a few visitors this evening.
Its actually his birthday today-so a big Happy Birthday to my darling hubby!
A big thank you to everyone who came and made it such a special night for Bill-also a big thanks for all the cards and gifts-they were all brilliant.

Class Of May 17th

We had a great class yesterday. All seven students produced beautiful Tropical Evening paintings.
It was the first time for Ian, Becky and 11 year old Dora.Though you would not know that from looking at their paintings.
Dora got a painted face as well as a painting!
Everyones painting was different to each other, although we all used the same colours.
Some were quite subtle and a couple of the others turned out lovely and bold.
Everyone was a bit nervous about doing the palm trees, so they all had a practise on my canvas first.
Everone laughed when I told them to turn the canvas upside down to do the reflections of the trees in the water, but everyone agreed that it was a really easy way of doing them.

May 17th class

Friday, May 16, 2008

Droitwich Spa Art Society

I have been asked to travel all the way to Droitwich Spa Art Society to do my Painting My Way Demonstration. Its quite a distance from us , but we will make a day of it and travel there in the morning have a look round Droitwich and have the demo in the evening.

Its a large group of over 6o members, it will make a change to have 2 hours to do the demo in--usually at the WI's I only have around an hour to do the 2 paintings!

Usually I get asked many more questions when I'm at the art society/club do's so the extra time will be useful.
Its not until November but the way the time is flying by it will soon be here!

Tomorrows Class

We have a full class tomorrow to paint Tropical Evening.
This is a tranquil scene and it will be interesting to see just how different they all turn out.
We have a special student tomorrow--my daughter Becki is joining in after a bit of persuasion.
She is kindly paying for a 12 year daughter of a friend of hers to come and as she was going to wait anyway for her, said she may as well join in!
To say she is nervous is an understatement!
Well Id better go and get the box done for tomorrow-got brushes to put in the individual boxes that each student has to keep everything together.
Also I have to make up some more of the undercoat that we use on the canvas.
Its lucky the room we use is just a few hundred yards away from home-Bill usually ends up coming home to pick up one or two things that have been requested by students and Ive forgotten to pack!!!

Soooo Busy

I haven't had chance to update here properly all week.Ive been working on one of the 2 commissions all week, I'm very happy with how its going and so is Paul who commissioned it.I have kept him updated with each stage. Swallow Falls is very near completion now.I just need the rocks to dry off a little more so I can put the little ripples of water dripping off them.And I will soften the spray too.

Swallow Falls has long been an inspiration for me, I painted my en suite bathroom doors after visiting the falls a few years ago.
Makes a change from just pine doors.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Garden Coming On Nicely

The garden is coming on a treat--the membrane has gone down on the bottom level of the garden and the lovely coloured gravel and cobbles arrived this morning.
The plants and trees have been set out in the approx places they will be planted.
Bill has sorted out 2 big planters that will hold trailing fuchsias-they will sit at each side at the top of the new steps down to the 3rd level.
The new ultra violet light in the pond has worked a treat and the pond water is now as clear as a bell!!!.
The fish are rushing to the side of the pond to be fed as soon as they hear footsteps on the patio! As soon as you throw the food in they sound like a load of pigs eating!!
You wouldn't believe the noise they make munching away!
The biggest one who is called Moby for obvious reasons pushes everything out of the way like a bulldozer, no wonder he is the size he is!

Craft Fair

We are on the monthly craft fair tomorrow on the square in Ludlow.
As usual I will be demonstrating the technique I use in class as well as doing encaustic work too!
Lets hope the weather holds out-sounds a bit iffy by the forcast!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I have been busy over the past couple of days working on a commission of Swallow Falls in Wales.

Its a place that has inspired me from the the first time we went there 6 years ago.

Paul and his wife have each commissioned a painting that means a lot to each of them.Im working on Pauls at the moment--he has sent me the photos of the scenes but also given me the go ahead to do my own thing with them because they love my style of interpretation of subjects.

.I am really enjoying this----although I am still doing my usual and emailing each stage for confirmation too!

I am really pleased with the results-the pic shown does not do this painting justice!

Latest in the garden

Bill has got the 8 ft stone circle down on the new bottom layer of the garden, we are unsure of what will be put on top of it as yet- we have a lovely bird bath that would look great on there, but we have a lovely table and chairs that would go on there too! We will make up our minds when the new gravel and plants are in there.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Nat A Tat at the Craft Market

My sister in law Jan called by in the morning of the transport show along with my niece Natalie otherwise know as Rat a Tat or Nat a Tat!
Natalie is just 11 years old and normaly she loves to just have a go at the encaustic art, she did a couple of these melted wax paintings, then went off with her mum for a look around in the castle.
I got a call a from Jan a bit later to ask if Nat could have a go at the oil painting. she had been gagging to have a go when I was painting earlier!
They arrived shortly after , and I went through the different stages of the painting on my canavs paper and Nat did the same and we soon 2 paintings almost identical-much to the amazement of onlookers!
I went through each stage of the painting in the same way as I do in the classes-Nat was able to follow my instructions with ease-even with onlookers watching!.
It showed what can be achieved with instruction, and I will see some of the people watching later in the year!

Sundays Craft Market/ Transport Exhibition

It was an early start to the day yesterday-we were up at 6am to get ready to go down to the craft market.The sun was shining and the birds were singing as we set up.
Each time we do a craft fair it works out different as we take different paintings.Bill is very good at hanging them all-I would not be able to do it as neat as he does!

We were next to the hand made soap stall and the smell all day was great-lavender and lemongrass oil amongst other lovely smells.
The other side was the 'hat man' who sells hats and sunglasses etc -he used to play with The Mavericks and throughout the day he was playing his guitar, gave a great atmosphere to the day!
There were lots of people around all day, and at around mid-day there was a noise that got louder and louder-it echoed through the narrow streets of Ludlow and then we saw them coming up the road--an endless stream of moped's --the mods had arrived in their droves-it was estimated that around 5oo mods had come to the transport exhibition.As you can see from the pics above there were some beautiful bikes , made you wonder how they managed with all those mirrors on them!
Bill had a good walk around in the castle and was able to see some of the other things on show there

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Craft market Tomorrow

We have an early start tomorrow-we are on the craft market in the town square.
Its the annual Marches Transport Festival.
Cars and lorries from all decades descend into the castle and the square.
The weather promises to be beautiful and the town will be heaving with people so fingers crossed we will have a good day!
We love doing the local fairs-we meet up with all the regular stall holders as well as the customers.
As usual I will be painting in oils, acrylics and encaustic wax.There will be paintings for sale as well as all the materials needed to paint in any of these mediums.

Mellow Moods Class

Today we had Jan and Jane to paint the Mellow Moods painting.
It was great fun to see how each painting progressed-first of all with the sponges and later with the brushes!
It was a very straightforward painting to do and both of them agreed that it was quite an easy one to do!
I will work on another colourway for this class for later in the year
In between painting we had breaks to go outside and see the fish in the pond, they have all grown massive over the past few weeks-the new ultra violet light has worked wonders and the water is now as clear as can be.
It wont be long until they are spawning now the temperature is rising.Then the fun starts -checking constantly that any havent jumped out of the pond!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Harmer Hill WI

We had quite a journey last night to our latest demonstration.
Harmer Hill WI is the other side of Shrewsbury, so we had an early start. We arrived in good time and we set up before the ladies started their meeting.
I was able to relax for 20 mins or so before beginning my talk.
Some of the ladies had seen me before at another WI, so knew what to expect!
The evening before Id had a brilliant write up from Lydham WI in the local newspaper the Shropshire Star---the only thing was the paper had dug up an old photo of me taken by them at one of my first exhibitions, and I had very short hair in those days-some of the members last night looked surprised to see I had very long hair!
I will have to send the paper a more recent photo to use, it is the second time in recent months they have dug up an old one!
The evening went very well-as usual the time just flew by-beforeI knew it the 2 paintings were finished and it was time to have a chat to everyone while enjoying the beautiful cakes with a cup of tea and coffee.
Some of the members are keen to come to Ludlow and have a go , so we will look forward to seeing them in the future.
Margret won the raffle and chose Summer Day-she said it reminded her of her holiday in Cornwall!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Computer Problems

Im having some computer problems at the moment so the updates etc are going to be late! Please bear with me and we will get things sorted asap.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Todays class

We had a great time today in class! It was laughs from the word go!
As you can see from the photos, we had one unruly student who kept playing up!!
Ron was the only first time student today and he soon settled down after reassurances from everyone else that he would be fine!
Jane managed to join us again-and was really happy with her pic until she put in the suns rays, I showed her how to get rid of them and all was well.
I stocked her up with painting materials when she had her one to one on Wednesday--the few things I didn't have I gave her a list to go shopping at The Range in Kidderminster,just a couple of brushes and an easel were what she was short of.
She phoned this afternoon while she was there at The Range to check she was getting the right things --all my students know that if they are in any doubt about anything they can ring me anytime and ask! Whether its about technique or materials I am always here to answer their queries.
Michelle had to leave a bit earlier than everyone else-she had a new grandchild to go and see in Northampton, so she is not in the final photograph.!
Bill from Shrewsbury was using his 3rd gift voucher that he received from his wife--he loves the different techniques that he has learnt in each class.
Kay recieved her advanced artists brooch for attending 6 classes-she was thrilled with it!
I will finish the update tomorrow because we have little Holly her for the weekend and she is fast asleep in the room I have the computer in!